Former BET executive and Central State University alum Curtis Symonds is in talks with the HBCU network and members of the Congressional Black Caucus to generate interest for the first television network that would be dedicated entirely to historically black colleges and universities. The Atlanta-based HBCU Network would be a “full-fledged 24/7, 365 days a year sports, edutainment and lifestyle network.”
Symonds said it will be away to expose HBCUs worth to the general public.
“The time has more than come for something like this,” Symonds told BET.com “Right now, Hampton has the largest NASA program in the country, and North Carolina A&T has one of the best engineering departments in the country. How many of our children know things like that? That’s what this channel will be all about — putting all our varying shades on display, while casting us in our best lights.”
Symonds idea is a visionary one, but his experience is solid. While working with BET, he helped spearhead a campaign that increased home subscription to the television network from 18 million to 65 million homes.
The network will soft-launch this fall along with a grassroots HBCU promotion tour. Symonds still has work to do though: getting the big cable boys to sing on.
“Here, you have entertainment channels like TV One and Centric already struggling for survival,” he added, “and you want to add another one at the expense of not only a historical, potentially industry-changing vehicle, but one that also hits upon all the key criteria and demographics that all execs typically salivate over? I mean, what’s the justification or even logic for this?”
Symonds says that the network will provide a 20-percent equity share with HBCUs in his company.